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14. April 2016

 

PlayCanvas is a popular and capable 3D WebGL based game engine I previously covered in this Closer Look entry.  Today they announced the addition of runtime light mapping.  Lightmapping is one of those tricks game engines use to make lighting in a game look great with low performance cost.  However they also generally involve several tools and a lightmap baking process.  Today PlayCanvas announced runtime support for lightmapping:

How does it work?

For the uninitiated, lightmaps are extra textures that contain pre-computed lighting information that are applied to models at runtime. This means that instead of expensive per-pixel lighting, you can pre-compute static lighting that is incredibly cheap to render on the GPU.

We’ve also specially designed our lightmapping solution for the needs of the web. In the Sponza scene above, there are 5 lights which generate 65 lightmaps applied to the 240,000 triangle mesh that makes up the scene. In total, this generates over 60MB of HDR lightmap textures. Even with an excellent compression ratio, it would be very time consuming to download this texture data. So we’ve designed the PlayCanvas lightmapper to be unique among both native and WebGL engines. The PlayCanvas Engine generates all lightmaps on application start. In a few hundred milliseconds, we generate all the textures required for static lighting so your scene runs super-smoothly across all devices.

What’s good about it?

Performance

Just see for yourself. Switch between the lightmapped and dynamic lighting modes in the Sponza demo above. On a MacBook Pro or a recent mobile device like a Nexus 5 or iPhone 6, the lightmapped scene runs at 60fps. Using the real-time dynamic lighting we have to sample 5 filtered shadow maps (one for each light) which seriously affects performance.

With this new feature, we’re enabling WebGL developers to create beautifully lit 3D scenes that run in all browsers from low end mobile to high end desktop. Not only will your application run smoothly on mobile, it will also load incredibly fast.

Ease-of-use

The lightmapping tools are built directly into the Editor. To get started, you just need to flick a couple of check boxes on your light and model components and hit the Bake button. Find out more by reading the new documentation.

Features, Features, Features

Of course, there are also all the bells and whistles that make the lightmapper a dream to use. We generate HDR lightmaps so everything looks great. You can mix and match your static and dynamic lighting to give you the best of both worlds. We even auto-magically UV-unwrap your models if you haven’t already generated lightmap UVs.

 

You can read more about it, and witness a demo of lightmaps in action, right here.

GameDev News


14. April 2016

 

Today (yesterday technically) saw the release of Gideros 2016.4.  Gideros is a now open source, Lua powered mobile game engine with a full editing environment.  This new release is rather large but one new feature stands out above the rest, HTML5 support.   You can now export your game for the web and see full 60fps full screen performance.  No code changes are required, simply export your game in HTML, double click the generated HTML file and you are off to the races.

 

There were several other changes and fixes in this release, including:

New keyboard event: EVENT.KEY_CHAR is now triggered on some platforms (QT, HTML5, WinRT) to allow grabbing textual representation of text typed on a physical keyboard.

  • Completely rethought the export system: introduce direct APK export (for Android) and app icon generation from a single visual (on some exports, work in progress)
  • Viewport object (inherits from Sprite): displaying same sprite hierarchy in multiple places, eg for split-screen games.
  • Cryptography: MD5 hash and AES128 encryption primitives
  • Lightweight Win32 Windows desktop export now promoted to beta. Now exports two executables one with a debugging console and one without. Largely feature complete but still lacks UrlLoader.

Additions:

  • Path2D texture support
  • gdrdaemon: Handle player discovery

Fixes:

  • Path2D bounds computation
  • Gideros Studio: Handle player loss (as opposed to discovery)
  • LiquidFun issues
  • Windows Store apps: fixed scaling issue on low resolution Windows 10 devices

You can read the full release here while Gideros itself is available here.

GameDev News


12. April 2016

 

Construct 2 is a popular HTML5 game engine and editor, that enables developers to create games without any coding required.  They just released r227 bringing the following new features:

  • Beta support for UWP apps on Xbox One!
  • An updated certificate for the installer, which should avoid security warnings in some cases
  • Multiple fixes for issues in Safari on iOS
  • New WKWebView support for Cordova iOS apps, which significantly improves performance (which was also later updated to reduce memory usage and add video support)
  • Audio scheduling, which makes sample-accurate playback possible
  • Support for a new project format for the latest version of the Intel XDK, but note this is still being worked on by Intel.

 

In addition to those new features, they made the following changes:

    • XBox One now uses full 1080p resolution
    • Xbox One disables overscan borders by default
    • viewport fix for Safari browsers hopefully resolving strange behavior on iPhone devices in landscape mode.

 

You can read more about this and previous releases here.  Construct2 is an engine I have done very little coverage of in the past ( really only mentioned in this guide ) here on GameFromScratch.  Is there interest out there for more content on using Construct?

GameDev News


23. March 2016

 

Construct, a popular codeless HTML5 game engine, just released a new beta update.  The major new features are the ability to schedule audio playback web view improvements.

 

Complete changes from the changelog:

Changelog

Add Audio: 'Schedule next play' action for sample-accurate playback timing

Add New example: Audio scheduling

Add New example: Multiple colored shadow-casting lights

Add Video: now supported in WKWebView. This is achieved by using a local HTTP server (cordova-plugin-httpd) solely to serve video files.

Change IAP: rewritten support for Cordova on iOS using the updated cc.fovea.cordova.purchase plugin

Change Cordova export: replace references to org.apache.cordova.media and org.crosswalk.engine with the newer IDs cordova-plugin-media and cordova-plugin-crosswalk-webview, allowing both to use the latest versions. Note however for Crosswalk builds to work on PhoneGap Build you will need to specify the version by adding to config.xml, until they make CLI 6+ the default.

Change Audio: in Cordova on iOS in WKWebView mode, no longer waits for a touch before starting music.

Change Audio: rudimentary memory management for music in WKWebView mode. Should now only keep one decompressed music track in memory at a time, preventing high memory usage in large projects.

Change Cordova export: updates to the new Intel XDK project format

Change NW.js: work around a bug that could leave ghost processes behind in apps that were upgraded from NW.js 0.12

Change Events: adding an effect can now bring back actions that disappeared after "replace object" because an effect was missing

Bug Fix Tilemap plugin: did not properly clear remaining tiles after loading a tilemap from JSON

Bug Fix Tilemap editor: should no longer change editing tilemap when pressing undo

Bug Fix Pathfinding behavior: did not always correctly update the obstacle map when changing layouts

GameDev News


18. March 2016

 

Goo Create, an HTML5 WebGL game engine with a full editor, just released a new version.

 

New in this release:

  • New particle system component
  • Visual behavior editor
  • Synchronous behavior state transitions
  • Improved action dialog with search
  • Collapsible panels
  • 65K vertex meshes no longer split

Plus several other fixes and improvements:

Improvements

  • The current selection is added to the URL and restored if the page is refreshed.
  • Shadows now work on mobile devices.
  • New entities are now added as children of the currently selected entity. If no entity is selected, new entities become children of the scene.
  • Added a checkbox to the Sound Component panel to specify whether sounds should automatically be played when the scene is played.
  • Added a checkbox to the Sound Component panel to make sounds 2D (not using 3D spatial effects).
  • Added a “Mute” button to the default publishing templates. Clicking it will mute all the sounds in the scene.
  • Added an option for focusing the canvas element in published scenes. When embedding a scene into another website you usually don’t want the canvas to be focused automatically.
  • Added the possibility of specifying alpha values in the color picker control/component. To make use of this new control for script parameters just make a parameter of type “vec4”, and control “color.”
  • Added the possibility of loading Ads immediately after it is loaded or after the whole page is loaded. This option is available in the “Serve Ad” app.
  • Better-looking HTML component default content.
  • The scene title is displayed as the page title and, consequently, shows up in the browser tab.
  • Mesh back-faces now render with correct normals.

Bug fixes

  • Fixed the Tween Opacity actions, QuadComponent and gizmos so that they use TransparencyBlending instead of CustomBlending.
  • Fixed texture repeating so that it works with NPOT textures.
  • Fixed the OrbitCam panning so that it works on touch devices.
  • Removed the restriction of the light shadow casting size and range being integers.
  • Fixed the ButtonScript and PickAndExit action so that they use the “touchend” event to open links, in order to support iOS9.
  • Fix a bug that caused tooltips to say visible after starting to drag a sortable item (e.g. scripts or behavior actions).
  • Made sure the “allowfullscreen” attribute is added to the “Embed code” for published scenes.
  • Added missing ctx.playTime to the autocompletion in the script editor.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the names displayed in the scene Hierarchy would to not overflow properly in Firefox.
  • Made the the text editor search box larger because text would sometimes get clipped in Firefox.
  • Fix a bug in the publishing template that prevented the bottom bar from being hidden unless the “Maximize Button” option was enabled.
  • Fixed a bug which caused the timeline keyframe easing function to not be saved sometimes.

You can read more about the new release here.

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